ShootAnyAngle.com Wedding Photography Blog

What story will your photos tell? We're a husband and wife photography team, and we want to capture your special day so you can relive it every time you look at your photographs! On this blog, you'll find all things wedding to inspire you for your big day! Check back often for posts on photography, DIY, dresses, decorations, and more!


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Wedding Etiquette Breakdown

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/Who knew there were so many rules when it came to weddings?  I never knew how many there really were until I was a bride myself.  It can be hard to keep track of for sure.  So, here’s a quick breakdown for you!

Announcing the Engagement

Make sure to call everyone close to you to notify them about the engagement prior to putting it on Facebook.  It’s very hurtful when a close friend or family member gets engaged and you find out on Facebook, not from the person directly (and I know from personal experience!).

Engagement Party Gifts

Simple answer: they are not required.

Rehearsal Dinners

This is up to the groom’s family to plan, host, and pay for.  Though the bride and groom can certainly give input, they should not help plan it as they have enough on their plate.  Likewise, guests with questions should go to the groom’s parents with them.  An invitation for the dinner is needed, but it can be as simple as an emailed notice of the event – just something so the guests know where to go and when.  Generally, the bridal party and their dates (along with the parents of the couple) are the guests to this event.

Invites & Save the Dateshttp://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Save the Dates should be sent to people on your “A” list (i.e. people you really want to come), but not necessarily the full list (and do not send out more than your max capacity).  They should be sent out about 6 months prior and should include the wedding date and at least the city and state of the wedding.

Invites should be sent out to everyone on your “A” list (which should match your top number of guests) approximately 6-8 weeks before the wedding.  If it’s a destination wedding, feel free to send those out sooner.  It should include the date, the exact location, the time of the ceremony, and a way to RSVP.  This could be in the form of an RSVP card or a link to a website where they can learn more about the wedding and RSVP there.  And guests, RSVP as soon as you can.  Do not wait until the deadline, and above all, do not send it in late.

Brides and grooms, offering guests a “plus one” option is not mandatory, so you can choose if you wish to allow guests that option or not.  Weddings are certainly expensive enough without a plus one, so it’s fine if you choose not to offer it.  If you are okay adding some “plus ones,” but you want to put a limit on it, reserve those for guests who won’t know anyone else besides you.  Also, if you know someone can’t come, you should still send them an invite anyway (unless they’ve asked you not to).  Otherwise, they could feel offended.  It’s best to include a note with the invite that explains you know they can’t come but wanted them to have a copy of the invitation as a keepsake.

If the bride’s parents helped pay for the wedding, the wording should begin with both of the bride’s parents’ names followed by “request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their daughter” (or something similar) followed by the bride’s name and then the groom’s.  If the couple paid for the wedding on their own, the wording should begin with the bride and groom’s name followed by “request the honor of your presence at their wedding.”  If both sets of parents helped out financially, the wording should begin with the bride and groom’s named followed by “and their parents request the honor of your presence at their wedding.”  Of course, these are just guidelines, and they can definitely be altered to fit what you want to show on the invite!

Giftshttp://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Gifts are typically given for bridal showers and the wedding itself.  How much to spend really depends on the guest’s budget, and they may choose to make something versus buy if that’s easier.  Typically, guests tend to spend around $100 a gift on weddings, and they can spend around $50 on shower gifts, but again, this is entirely up to the guest and what they are comfortable with.  It is best to stick to the wedding registry when choosing gifts, but a sentimental or handmade gift is also appreciated.

Brides should send out thank you notes as soon as possible, but the general rule is that they have one month to send out thank you notes from the time the gift was received.  In the note, it’s a good idea to mention what the gift was (i.e. “We love the gravy boat!”) so it’s personalized.  Also, it’s good to have them handwritten (I know, I wasn’t a fan of this one either because my handwriting is horrible) and both the bride and groom should sign it.

Guests, if you are writing a check to the couple, make sure to check if they have a joint account.  If they don’t, and you write the check out to both of them, they’ll have to go down to the bank and open a joint before they can cash or deposit it.  When in doubt, put the check in one name only.

Brides, you may get the majority of the gifts, but you still have some to give.  Brides give gifts to their parents, their bridesmaids, the groom, and anyone else who really helped out.  Grooms do the same on their side.

The Dress

A virgin wears white right?  Wrong.  I’m not sure how the old tradition got switched from wearing a veil to wearing white, but for some reason, most now believe the sign of purity is wearing all white.  Fashions have changed though.  Now, wearing a non-white dress is becoming more and more popular since not everyone looks their best in white – and those color dresses can be absolutely stunning!  Sometimes, a veil doesn’t go with the bride’s overall look.  Sometimes, the dress isn’t white.  And that’s absolutely fine.  As the bride, you should wear what makes you feel beautiful.  So, guests, make sure you never comment negatively about the fact that the bride chose a color other than white or decided not to wear a veil.  Nowadays, it really has nothing to do with “purity” just with beauty.

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/Bar

Alcohol can be a wild card to throw into the mix, so always make sure to discuss with your partner as to what you’d like to do.  The typical options are to have no alcohol at all, just wine and champagne, or a full bar.  If having no alcohol, make sure that is noted on the invite, or better yet, on the wedding website.  Some guests may choose not to come if alcohol is not served.  If you’re just having wine and champagne, you can limit how much guests drink by having your caterers provide one glass to each guest.  You don’t have to note this on the invite or wedding website, but you certainly can.  If having a full bar, it’s generally expected that it will be an open bar (i.e. free), and that guests can come back as many times as they want.  For any alcohol, you will need to talk to your venue about a liquor license (this is generally passed onto the bride and groom to pay for). Oh, and guests, do remember there are photographers there taking pictures!

Guest Attire

The look and feel of the invitation generally lets people know the style of the wedding, and thus what is appropriate to wear.  It may not specifically state the attire, but if it’s an evening ballroom wedding, you can expect to dress up a bit fancier.  On the other hand, an outdoor garden wedding would be a perfect place to wear a nice sundress.  Of course, there are some rules that guests should abide by.  Read more about which rules matter on a past blog post, Wedding Guest Attire Rules: Brides Tell Us What Rules They Do and Don’t Care About.  It’s always nice to let guests know the attire on the wedding website if you can though.  This is especially true if it’s a themed wedding or if you have a very specific style you’d like guests to match.

Behavior

You’d think it goes without saying that you should always be on your best behavior at a wedding (regardless of your role), but sadly, some people do need reminding (check YouTube for examples).  That’s not to say you can’t let loose and have some fun, though!  Just know when to sit quietly and when to party.

As far as taking pictures during the ceremony goes, take your cue from the couple.  If there are no signs saying you can’t, and the officiant doesn’t request that phones and cameras are put away, then you can take pictures.  Just make sure flash is off and don’t reach your camera over your head or in the aisle to get the shot – you may just block the professional photographer!

Bridesmaid Duties and Who Hosts the Bridal Showerhttp://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

To learn more about bridesmaid duties, visit our past post here: Bridesmaid Protocol: What to Expect As a Bridesmaid, and What Brides Should Know.

Who Pays for What

Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner, the marriage license, the officiant fees, the bride’s bouquet, the boutonnieres and the corsages, and even sometimes the honeymoon.  The bridesmaids handle their own attire, as do the groomsmen, and the couple pays for the rings.  So that means, the bride and her family would handle the rest (short end of the stick there, huh?).  That being said, things have changed, and brides and grooms are paying for a lot more than before.  That being said, if it’s your child, you should be pitching in some places, and not just the bare minimum.  If you can’t do that financially, then find ways to contribute your time to help take the pressure off the others.

Last names

Some women keep their maiden names.  Some hyphenate.  Some take their husband’s last name.  All are fine!!  It’s up to the bride as to what is best for her.

Social Media

Weddings are wonderful, but they are also incredibly stressful.  With stress comes tension and frustrations.  These are natural, but there is a time and a place to express that frustration – it’s not on social media.

Good luck!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How To Make Your Own Bouquets

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
 Flowers can be very expensive, but you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on your boquets.  Do them yourself!  You can get flowers at Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Costco, and many other places for good prices.  Then, assemble them!  Plus, it’s a good skill to have not just for weddings, but for other events such as Mother’s Day!

When I assemble bouquets, I use florist tape, scissors, and then whatever ribbon I want for the stems.  You can get florist tape from Michaels for a couple dollars.  I’ve found it best to make little bundles of 4 or 5 stems and wrap that in florist tape.  Don’t wrap too widely though.  Keep the tape area as narrow as you can so you don’t have to cover up too much with the ribbon.  Once you’ve made all the bundles, add them all together to make the final bouquet.  If you want it to be a rounded bouquet, make the center bundles the highest point, and lower the side bundles to give it the desired shape.  Once everything is secured, cut the bottom of the stems to even them out.  Sometimes, I like my bouquets to have more of a “mussy tussy” look, so I’ll purposely leave a lot of the bottom stems showing and vary the length of them slightly.  If you want a more formal look, wrap the stems tightly and fully, and trim evenly.

There are several options for the stems.  You can wrap them in a criss-cross pattern with ribbon, tie a single ribbon around to cover the florist tape while keeping most of the stems visible, or you can use fabric or wide ribbon to cover most or all of the stems.  If using this last option, secure the fabric in place with florist pins (also available at Michaels).  If you want the stems completely covered, cut a circle out of fabric that is about 2 inches wider in diameter than the diameter of the stems.  Place the stems in the middle, and wrap the sides up around the stems.  Then, wrap your ribbon or fabric starting from the bottom up to hold that fabric in place and secure with pins.

Making your own bouquets also opens up a lot of area for creativity.  You can use fake flowers or a combination of real and fake.  You can make bouquets out of pinwheels or pearls (Pinterest, anyone?), and make it truly unique.  So, have fun with it!

Photos and bouquets by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.


    

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How to Transform Your Old Bridesmaid Dresses!

“And the best part is you could just shorten it, and wear it again.” Whether it was in the movie 27 Dresses or a bride has said these words to you, we’ve all heard this line. Maybe we’ve even believed it. But, did we actually shorten it and wear it again? Most likely not.

I don’t know about you, but when I was a bridesmaid, I spent $280 on the dress. Back in 2012, that was the most expensive dress I had ever bought, and I could only wear it once! Until now, it has sat in the closet everyday since.

So, what can you do with the dress (without throwing all that money down the toilet)? Well, you could donate it or you could trash it, but neither of those options make the money you shelled out for it really worth it. Instead, why not alter the dress to fit your style?

I loved the top of this dress, but I knew I was not going to wear a floor-length number like this again. Even shortening it wasn’t enough for me – it would just look like a short bridesmaid dress! So, I decided my alteration would keep the top as-is while altering the bottom. I knew I wanted it to be a short dress – with a satin strapless top, a floor-length would look too fancy no matter what fabric I chose. To really keep the look as anti-bridesmaid as possible, I looked for a geometric pattern, and I found this blue and white chevron, which I loved.

To alter the dress, I first cut it short. The blue and white fabric needed lining, so I used the actual dress underneath to serve that purpose. Then, I cut out the blue and white fabric into a wider A-line, and sewed the sides together. Next, I carefully pinned the top fabric into place under the waistband of the original dress and along the zipper down the back. Once that was done, I simply sewed it into place! It only took around 2 hours for my un-useable bridesmaid dress to become something I’d actually WANT to wear!  It’s great as a party dress, and you can even add a little sweater to make it more casual.  A MUCH better alternative to keeping your old bridesmaid dress in the closet (or worse, in the trash)!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Bridesmaid Protocol: What to Expect As a Bridesmaid, and What Brides Should Know

Back in 2010, WeddingChannel.com did a study to find how much the average bridesmaid will pay for the “honor” of standing next to her friend on her wedding day. It is funny that as a society, we’ve labeled being a bridesmaid as an honor, but it’s the only honor I know of that you have to pay so much for!  WeddingChannel.com found that it was a whopping $1,695 out of pocket for the average bridesmaid. Having been a bridesmaid myself before, I can say this is not far off the mark. It’s not just the money either. A bridesmaid needs to make herself available for the wedding, the rehearsal, and as many other wedding events as she can attend. That means time off work, so it’s not just money going out of your pocket, it’s the prevention of money coming back in.

Nowadays, bridesmaids are asked to buy a dress, buy shoes, get their nails and hair and makeup done, attend all pre-wedding functions, go to the bachelorette party on their own dime (and pay for the bride’s trip as well), give the bride a wedding gift, and do it all with a smile. Not all of those are really legitimate requirements though, and oftentimes, bridesmaids can find themselves overwhelmed by someone else’s life event. Many brides are very considerate of their bridesmaids, but others aren’t. So, let’s take a look at what is and is not expected of you as a bridesmaid.

What IS Required Of You

To be there on the wedding day

Of course, this is the most important requirement of a bridesmaid, so if you’re asked to be a bridesmaid and getting to the wedding looks like it may not work out, politely decline. The other wedding events you can get out of, but not the wedding itself!

To wear a dress of the bride’s choosing (and pay for it)

Typically, bridesmaids pay for their own dresses and wear what is asked of them – even if they don’t like the dress. Now, if you are very uncomfortable in the dress for a legitimate reason (for example, if it’s too revealing), then politely bring up your concerns to the bride.  She’s your friend after all!  Most brides are more than happy to pick a dress that people like and are comfortable in. I’ve personally never seen a bride purposefully pick hideous gowns for her bridesmaids to wear, but if you are unfortunately in that position, try to make the most of it.

To the brides, be considerate of your bridesmaids here. They will never wear these dresses again. No, really, they won’t. So, try to pick out dresses that are inexpensive. This means steering clear of the bridal stores (where you are going to shell out at least $100). That way, at least they aren’t paying a lot for something they won’t wear again. I had to spend $280 something for a bridesmaid dress, and at the time, that was the most expensive dress I owned! So, for our wedding, I picked dresses that were only $40. That way, even if they only wore it the one time, it wouldn’t be a huge loss. As far as shoes go, no one really notices their feet anyway, so Brides, let them wear their own instead of buying new ones – unless they want the excuse to go shoe shopping, that is! Bridesmaids are also commonly asked to get their hair, nails, and makeup professionally done. Don’t put that additional cost on them. If it’s really important to you, pay for it. Or, better yet, have a nail painting party before the wedding and do each other’s hair and make-up. Pinterest has how-to’s for everything!

To support the bride emotionally

A wedding is a very exciting and happy day for a bride, but it’s also extremely stressful. Any number of things could go against the plan on the day of, and that’s not even looking at the internal emotional roller coaster that some brides experience. So, be kind, be gentle, be patient. At one point or another, every bride is going to be stressed to the point of feeling like she will burst. Some brides express that stress by being a bridezilla, others by crying, others by going catatonic. It doesn’t mean she is a bad person. It just means she is human. Be kind, be gentle, be patient. For our wedding, I asked the bridesmaids to just periodically tell me, “Everything is going to be okay.” Just that little reassurance helped me keep going.

Take on tasks to help with wedding planning or setup

Planning a wedding is a lot of work, so it’s not uncommon to have a bride ask for your help. Even though it is a lot of work, it can be a lot of fun too, so embrace it! If you have a specific talent, offer to handle that area of the planning so you can do what you enjoy.  I was blessed to have one of my bridesmaid offer to act as a wedding planner.  I was worried it would put too much stress on her, but she really enjoyed it – and she did a fantastic job!

To the brides, be grateful for the work your friends are doing for you. That means thanking them and giving them thoughtful thank you gifts. Also, if you see any bridesmaid is too overwhelmed, lighten their load or take them out for the day so you can both take a much-needed breather.

Help be a hostess to guests

This doesn’t mean financially contribute to the wedding. Rather, it means bridesmaids should be ready with a smile to help guests find the restroom or their seat, or answer questions about when dinner is – things like that.

Tackle issues

Does Aunt Nancy need to get her outfit approved? Offer to be the liaison so the bride doesn’t have to do it. Did the bride forget her “six pence for her shoe?” Offer to go pick it up. There are a million and one things that could come up, but if you can take it off the bride’s shoulders, try to do so. However, if you find yourself too overwhelmed, let the next bridesmaid handle the task.

Help plan a bachelorette party (and pay for your way if you go)

Listen to what the bride wants here, and help plan the fun event. Keep the costs as low as possible so that more people can afford to go. However, if the costs become too much, you do have the option not to go (more on that later).

Feed and “water the bride”

One of my bridesmaids came up with this term, and it made me laugh every time she said it. With everything going on during the big day, the bride will likely not get enough food and water. As you would with a sick child, give her something small to eat and drink periodically to make sure she doesn’t faint!  For our wedding, there was a plate of appetizers waiting for me after the ceremony.  That was such a welcome surprise!

Follow the bride’s instructions day-of

Hold the bouquet. Sign the marriage certificate. Help with the train of the gown. Go get Aunt Nancy for the family picture. Help set the tables.  Etcetera, etcetera.

To the brides, make sure your requests are within reason. For example, a current trend I’ve seen emerging is taking boudoir shots of not just the bride but of all the bridesmaids too. Whether or not to pose for such shoots is a very personal decision. Don’t ask your bridesmaids to do this unless you know they are all comfortable with it and want to do it. If any aren’t comfortable, come up with another idea that works for all involved.

Pay for own travel and accommodations

Yeah, sorry, but it’s true. If you agreed to be a bridesmaid for a wedding in Hawaii, you do need to pay for your travel over there and your hotel room and any food costs (just like you’d do on a normal vacation). Keep this in mind when making the decision to be a bridesmaid for a destination wedding.

Pose for the wedding photos

Your picture will be taken during the whole day. Make sure to be ready for the photographer when requested, and plan your prep time around that.

What Is NOT Required Of You

You do not need to be the one to throw the bridal shower.

Contrary to what you may have heard, the bridesmaids are not supposed to throw the bridesmaid a bridal shower. This was something I only learned during my time as a bride. Tradition gives the bridesmaids a break here (you have enough to pay for). Instead, this is traditionally done by friends/non-immediate family members of the bride or mother-of-the-bride. The bride and her parents and siblings are also not the ones that should be throwing this party so as not to appear to be fishing for more gifts. Plus, they often are helping pay for the wedding itself! That being said, if there is no one else to plan the party or if the bridesmaids as a whole want to throw the party, they can. Just make sure everyone is on the same page, and keep the price low.

You do not need to shell out money you don’t have.

At the time I was a bridesmaid, I had some major costs coming up in my life, and I found it very difficult to keep up with the costly requests of not only the bride but of my fellow bridesmaids who wanted to go all out. I ended up having to back out of some events (not the wedding itself, of course), and I was belittled for it. Remember that you are all supposed to be friends, so brides need to be supportive of you as a bridesmaid just as you need to be supportive of her as a bride. If you can’t do something financially, don’t.  Someone else’s wedding isn’t worth you going broke over.

To the Brides: your life may revolve around the wedding, but your bridesmaids’ lives don’t. In this day and age, it’s hard to get a good paying job and even harder to support yourself and a family financially. Be mindful of this fact. Bridesmaids simply cannot shell out too much on you. If you ask too much of them and aren’t understanding if they can’t handle something financially, you will lose them as friends.  So, preserve the friendship and have an open conversation with your friends to see what they can do financially. Or, just keep everything as low as possible! And, if someone can’t do everything you wish they could, be respectful of that. Weddings cost a lot, and so do the pre-wedding functions such as the bachelorette parties. Those are becoming quite extravagant, and your bridesmaids may not be able to afford it (time-wise or financially). Be understanding and respectful if they have to bow out, and make sure they realize that they don’t have to go if they feel it’s too hard on them to do so. They are your friends after all. They would love to be there, but you don’t want them to feel bad if they simply can’t.

You do not need to attend every single wedding-related function.

Yes, it’s best if you do, but if you can’t because of work or money or prior commitments (or sanity!), it’s okay to politely decline an event (that includes the bridal shower and the bachelorette party). Some weddings have tons of pre-wedding parties, and it can become too much. If it does, politely bow out, and brides, let them.

You do not need to take it all with a smile.

Now, things could very easily get heated since it’s a high-stress time, but if the bride or another bridesmaid is being continuously rude or over-stepping their boundaries, you can say something. That being said, pick and choose your battles, and be as gentle as possible when it becomes absolutely necessary to bring up the issue. This needs to be a conversation, not an attack. You’re all stuck together until the wedding day, so be as kind as possible and diffuse any tension that starts to build.

You do not need to buy the bride a gift.

You’re doing a lot already, so a gift is not required. However, if you feel bad showing up empty handed, go in on a gift as a group or make something for the bride. Or, if your family is also friends with the bride, you can go in on a group family gift.

And, when all is done with the wedding, treat yourself to a spa day or a nice dinner or that cute dress you’ve been eyeing – or simply a relaxing, and quiet evening at home.  Pamper yourself!  You deserve it!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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